New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul engaged in a heated exchange over the NSA during Thursday’s primetime GOP presidential debate.
Christie was asked about his earlier statement that Paul should testify before Congress if there’s another terrorist attack, and whether he could assign blame to Paul for a terrorist attack. He stated, “Yes, I do, And i’ll tell you why, because I’m the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who have gone before the federal — the Foreign Intelligence service court, who has prosecuted, and investigated, and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th. I was appointed US Attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001, and the world changed enormously the next day, and it happened in my state, this is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals. We lost friends of ours in the Trade Center that day. My own wife was two blocks from the Trade Center that at her office, having gone through it that morning. When you actually have to be responsible for doing this, you can do it, and we did it for seven years in any office, respecting civil liberties and protecting the homeland. And I will make no apologies ever for protecting the lives, and the safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people, and oversee them, to do it the right way. As president, that is exactly what I’ll do.
Paul responded, “I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the revolution over. John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence. And I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.”
Christie countered, “that’s a completely ridiculous answer, ‘I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people.’ How are you supposed to know, Megyn?”
Paul declared in response, “Use the Fourth Amendment. Get a warrant. Get a judge to sign the warrant.”
Christie then stated, “Listen Senator, you know, when you’re sitting in a subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that. When you’re responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need is to make sure that you use the system the way it’s supposed to work.” Paul countered, “Here’s the problem, Governor, you fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights. Every time you did a case, you got a warrant, from a judge. I’m talking about searches without warrants,” Christie then cut in “There is no –” while Paul continued, “indiscriminately of all Americans’ records, and that’s what I fought to end. I don’t trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.”
Christie concluded the discussion with, “Senator Paul, you know the hugs that I remember, are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th. Those are the hugs I remember, and those had nothing to do with politics, unlike what you’re doing, by cutting speeches on the floor of the Senate, then putting them on the Internet within a half an hour to raise money for your campaign, and while still putting our country at risk.”
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